Just got back from a week on Kauai and had some memorable food experiences despite the unbelievably disappointing weather. The best things were the delicious and unusual kinds of fish we discovered at the fish markets and the decadent tropical fruit and fruit products. Here's the run-down:
Tasty fresh black bean malasadas and sausage manapua at Kauai Bakery at Kukui Grove Mall in Lihue.
Very fresh fish (whole snapper, which they filleted for us), shrimp and a bag of thick sweet potato chips at the Fish Express in Lihue.
The deli part of Wong's Restaurant in Hanapepe: Stopped for the lilikoi chiffon pie and dense gummy coconut squares. When we noticed all the police cars and utility trucks stopping there, we returned for the lunch buffet and the macadamia cream pie. The desserts were better than the savory picks, but its okay Chinese, huge portions, fast and super cheap. ($7 gets you enough food for 3 people).
Hanalei Dolphin - absolutely glistening fresh fish: monchong (my fave), ono, sea bass, grey snapper. Also, yummy smoked salmon roll and tuna jerky.
Old Koloa Town Fish Market - Admittedly, both times we hit it it was late in the afternoon, but the fish didn't look as fresh as the offerings at either Fish Express or Hanalei Dolphin. Instead we tried their desserts: brownies and a Hawaiian firm coconut pudding. The pudding looks (and is displayed) like some kind of local soft cheese. It's subtle but delicious...a good snack to keep in the fridge and cut wedges from. Also cheap: $1.85 each and the brownies were 99 cents. The coconut turnovers and the smoked tuna looked good but we didn't have room to try them.
The Shrimp Station in Waimea - Had the coconut shrimp, which is dipped in a batter containing shredded coconut and then fried. 10 shrimp with okay fries ran us about $13. Fine but not good enough to lure us back at that price.
Farmers' Market at Kapaa - I was very excited to see one vendor selling vanilla beans for $2 each! Loved the rambutans, soup sop, pineapple, yellow carrots.
Kong Lung Village Bakery - on the road to the lighthouse in Kilalauea - so-so chocolate coconut cream puff, pecan roll and hot chocolate. Not something I'd go out of the way for, but okay if you're there and hungry. (Side note: The shopping at Kong Lung was by far my favorite on the island: check out the Japanese decorative items/gifts at the main Kong Lung store and the pearl jewelry at Lotus Flower.)
Mango Mamma's just outside Princeville - We had the #6 (Coconut cream smoothie) and the #10 (Lipsmacker) - both of which were wonderful, though we preferred the sweetness of the #6 to the lime-y #10.
We also picked up some Hawaiian food products that we particularly enjoyed. They are available at most of the grocery stores:
Frito-Lay Taro Chips (look for a pink bag)
Aunty Lilikoi Passion Coconut Syrup (on pancakes and as a dipping sauce for tempura-ed shrimp) and Passionfruit Butter (like lemon curd but made with passionfruit instead)
Hanakua Plantations lightly salted macadamia nuts - I don't usually like macadamia nuts but these were sweet and set off nicely by the salt.
Kauai Kookie Cornflake Krunch Cookies - light, crisp and sweet
Dried sweetened lemon slices
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